Kristina has landed in America…and I was there!

Twenty years after work first started on a new musical and fourteen years after opening in Sweden, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’s musical epic Kristina från Duvemåla has finally arrived in America.

This thread has been set up for people that were at Carnegie Hall on 23 and 24 September to witness Kristina – A Concert Event and who want to share just what it was like to be there.

Carnegie Hall - photo (c) wallyg

Carnegie Hall – photo (c) "wallyg"

117 thoughts on “Kristina has landed in America…and I was there!”

  1. You all keep talking about Broadway. Mayby it get staged i Chicago first. Why not, for many years ago Chicago, second to Stockholm, was the city with the most Swedes. If so, KRISTINA will get hooked in the US and then it will be Broadway shortly.

  2. Now back in UK…enjoyed the concert (Wednesday night)…thought Helen S Russel W Kevin O great ..not quite so sure about Louise P.

    Surprised to almost literally bump into Helen S in the lobby of my hotel the next day and even more surprised to see Bjorn sitting there the following day …he didn’t remember from Glasgow in 1979…..

  3. I have read all the comments about the concert, watched the clips on youtube and read some reviews (not all good).

    Beeing a Suede I have seen the original musical many times and I have relistened to the 3 CD original recording after the Carnegie hall concert and I still think this musical in it´s original form is a masterpiece in every way.

    When Björn wrote the lyrics he said in a documentary he had Vilhelm Mobergs words (the author of the novel)in his head. The lyrics Björn wrote in Swedish are excellent and are so well suited to the music in every way.

    In my point of view I do not think the concert version is at all comparable to the actual musical and the english lyrics are not as excellent as the Swedish lyrics although still quite good.

    Björn and Benny said they did these two concerts because they wanted to make a recording of the music in english and release it in CD form to "get the music out" to a wider public.

    I would advise all negative critics to wait and have an opinion until you have seen the final musical. Kristina will always be a masterpiece even if it will not be a sucess on Broadway.

  4. I was there on Sept. 24. Here is a bit of why I flew there from Texas to see Kristina.

    I had heard of the books, but hadn’t read them when I heard of the films in the 70s. I enjoyed the films, but didn’t go any farther than that.

    Much later, we had a Swedish exchange student living with us. He played GULDET BLEV TIL SAND as a bit of a joke because my name is Christina. I didn’t understand the words, but loved the music. I asked him where the song was from and as he explained the musical I said, "I know this story!"

    Since it had reentered my life, I decided to finally read the books. They are quite compelling, I think, and give a good description of why one would leave their homeland (in this case, Sweden). Then the books described how it would be for a group with very different reasons to emigrate to make the journey and eventually start a new life in America. I loved the books and looked for the musical to hear the rest of the story from Kristina’s point of view (the books continue long past her death).

    When I finally got to hear the entire 3-cd set, I was hooked. The music was beautiful and the lyrics really told the story of the conflicted Kristina, who didn’t want to leave her life in Sweden but felt compelled to in order to save her children. And the love between her and her husband both saved her and destroyed her. All was shown in the music.

    When the Carnegie Hall shows were announced, I had to be there. The audience was enthusiatic for many reasons. I think everyone will have their stories. I talked to two men in the same box as I was. They had driven from California. As the show went on and we experienced its beauty, we became friends. We talked about how it should appeal to an American audience. We are all from immigrants at some point in our past. The story should strike a chord for unjaded souls.

    I hope that they musical will be produced on Broadway, but if not, at least I have it running through my mind now!

    It is there! in the beat of my heart.
    it is there, though we’re oceans apart.
    and someday perhaps you’ll learn, how much a true heart can yearn.

  5. Time to digest and assess my Kristina experience. I really enjoyed the concert. It was great to finally expereince the show in English and make more sense of it (without having to paw through distracting translations). The performances were all very very good.

    However… even though the translation is excellent, many of the songs still sound translated, if you see what I mean. You Have to Be There is an example. The original lyrics ‘fit’ the tune, the intonation and phrasing. The English words sometimes sit awkwardly in their place, even if they are the best words the translator could have chosen. In fact, this is nearly always the case with anything translated. There is always something not quite right. It’s blindlingly obvious that, if it had been originally written in English, Kristina would be a lot better for an English audience(imagine Chess if it had been translated into English – we’d never have the magical lyrics of Tim Rice to marvel over). For that reason I think Kristina should remain Swedish.

  6. Well, if you hoping — as I was — to put a copy of Kristina @ Carnegie Hall under someone’s Christmas tree… you can forget it. The CD (on the Decca Broadway label) won’t be released until early 2010. Benny is personally involved in the mixing/mastering process, which is being done at a studio in Sweden, and I’m told he’s being a perfectionist about it.

    Bästa hälsningar,
    Lars-Erik
    New York City

  7. Early 2010 is fantastic. It took much longer for Chess at Albert Hall and Chess is again headed for Broadway.

    Every instinct tells me "Kristina" is his #1 priority because the window is still open for Helen to play the lead if it can be taken to Broadway quick enough.

    Benny was believed to have wanted the Broadway Theater last year or the year before but Oprah kept "The Color Purple" running longer than expected.

    Right now "Shrek" is running there but it is a Disney production in big trouble (down 5% with a very anemic 62% occupancy.) It’s not Disney’s style to keep throwing money at a show that appears to have not found an audience.

    Of course, no one really knows what Benn and Bjorn have in mind but it seemed so clear to me (and I suppose everyone who saw the concerts that Benny and Bjorn were over the moon with joy during the curtain
    calls. I read one snippet where Benny was said to have declared September 23rd was one of the two happiest nights of his life.

    This if good news. The game is afoot.

  8. I do hope they will not make a CD with the live performances with all the cellphones ringing all the time. I´ve listened to the clips on You Tube and it really is ANNOYING. I can´t understand why people didn´t remember to switch them off before the concert! Or maybe there is a possibility to remove these sounds in a recording studio – who knows.

  9. Who knows how long "Shrek" will occupy the Broadway Theatre, but I can’t imagine Disney wanting it to stay there at all, much less be throwing any money at it or even being involved in name only, since it’s a production by a competing studio (Dreamworks) and based on a movie that included much material satirizing the Disney animation and theme park empire.

    I would assume there are other theaters also suitable for "Kristina" in the New York theater district, but again, who knows which ones will be available when…

    Good to hear that Benny is wanting to take great care in producing the CD.

  10. @ Glenn: Shrek isn’t Disney, it’s Dreamworks. The movies and the show are decidedly anti-Disney.

    @ Lars Erik: I had heard somewhere in the last week that the CD would be released in February.

  11. February works for me…and because I was actually there, I know it won’t be the disappointment "Chess In Concert" was.

  12. I got home from New York City three days ago after a fantastic stay, and although my "Kristina" concert had begun to fade by the end of the holiday (understandable, as NYC is an intensely rivetting place: I saw and experienced and revisited heaps of interesting things in the 18 or so days following the Carnegie Hall night, after all!). The "Kristina" thing I attended at the beginning of my stay was still a highlight, but it was starting to assume the status of just one highlight among many others.

    I had no idea what an incredible recalibration would occur upon returning home, though! "Kristina" leapt back to number one just before I landed, about the same moment the realisation came that I had to snap back into the reality that is the daily routine.

    The concert was marvellous and the highlight of the decade for me.

    I forgot to mention: did anybody attending the second concert notice the small blooper in "Queen of the Prairie" (Prariens drottning)? The little boy, I’m almost sure, FORGOT to sing his short line! It was hardly noticeable, but from where I was seated (quite close to the stage) his child co-stars gazed fixedly, expectantly, at him when he failed to sing his bit – it looked to be an awkward and embarrassing (especially to self-conscious children) 3 second silence before the other little girl sang her rejoinder to what should have been sung by the boy.

    I doubt most of the audience would have noticed this little omission, but I did, and I can imagine Benny and Bjorn – perfectionists that they are – would have squirmed in their seats and planned to thrash the living daylights out of him once the show was over. 😉 lol.

    I’m so disappointed to see that all those Youtube clips (of amateur footage) that were recorded over both nights have now been blocked! I do so wish I’d had the presence of mind to download them at the time so I could watch them again today. Damn it!

    I can hardly wait to get the official recording now. What’s taking them so bloomin’ long!! (Just kidding, of course, but others must be impatient, too.)

    It was a magnificent event, an unforgettable night, and an incredible honour – one which would have certainly seemed unimaginable to both B&B when they wrote "People Need Love". Who could have foreseen – even as late as 1984, with their "Chess" project – our boys presenting their music to an audience at Carnegie Hall?! Certainly not me! – and this, apart from hearing live that majestic score which I loved already, is one of the main reasons why I absolutely, positively HAD to be there! I needed to be present for this, their singular moment of glory in what has proved to be a fairytale career.

    Patrick J.

  13. Yes, the kid missed a line but I remember all kids singing out of tune when I say the show in Malmo. Anders joined in and guiided them back into tune!

    Yes, the videos have disappeared from YouTube but you may find the following link useful:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/bafla

  14. One day when we were on the ocean
    Another ship came sailing by
    The Swedish Colours fluttered from her stern
    The people on her deck I could see their faces

    We sailed in opposite directions
    They waved and I felt so alone
    How strange when I was leaving all behind me
    There were others like me going Home

    ref

    Oh mama mama where is home
    All that I know
    Is there, there was a place called home
    Not long ago

  15. All is well
    Now eps at last
    You were carried over a sea
    Curled up inside me
    Safe and warm as can be

    Now that blissful time has past
    You were thrown out into a world
    Where you must fend for yourself
    Without me

    Some day
    You?ll be wanting to know
    Of my life
    In that land long ago
    Of a home you?ll never see
    Is it still there you?ll ask me

    It is there
    In the beat of my heart
    It is there
    Though we?re oceans apart
    And some day you?ll maybe learn
    How much a true heart can yearn
    In all my dreams I return
    To where my apples regrows
    My Precious Summer Rose

    As you grow
    I will teach you the ways
    Of my home
    In those faraway days
    You will ask:
    Is it still there
    And I will answer:
    It is there

    It is there
    In the beat of my heart
    It is there
    Though we?re oceans apart
    And some day
    You?ll maybe learn
    How much
    A true heart can yearn
    In all my dreams I return
    To where my apples regrows
    My Precious Summer Rose

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